Teacher Punched in The Face by Student Can’t Keep Getting Workers Comp

Matt Miller, PennLive, December 26, 2017

A school teacher [Susette Vandunk] who claims she remains disabled nearly three years after a student punched her in the face has lost her bid for continued workers compensation.

Susette Vandunk’s That board had rejected Vandunk’s claim that she is still unable to return to work as an English teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. Nor did the comp board accept her claim that she has persistent psychological issues and is “fearful of African-American men who look like the student who attacked her.”

According to the state court opinion by Senior Judge Dan Pellegrini, Vandunk confronted the student in her classroom at West Philadelphia High School when he went to a supply cart without permission in January 2015.

The student became angry when she told him he’d be a suspect if anything from the cart went missing. The boy then pushed past another teacher and slugged Vandunk.

Vandunk’s injuries required seven stitches and left her with a scar on her lip, Pellegrini noted. She did receive workers comp for several months.

However, when Vandunk, who had taught at the school for 13 years, was advised by the district to return to work, she insisted “she does not feel capable of returning to her pre-injury job because she cannot trust any students that come near her and fears turning her back to write on the blackboard,” Pellegrini wrote.

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